Making The Most With Games and Contests. Winners Come Back

By Phil Immordino

Games and contests are a great tool to engage golfers. There are several purposes for games and contests.


Build Memories – When a golfer wins a contest they will remember for a long time and remember your event.
Excitement – Most golfers are not serious golfers. Five hours of golf could get a little boring. You can break it up with unique and fun games.
Award Winners – Winners come back. The more winners that you have the more golfers will return next year.
Make Money – You can increase your bottom line 25% if you utilize the right money making games and contests.

There are many types of games and contest. Here are a few of the most popular ones.

Tournament Winners – Every tournament has winners. This would include first, second and third place team or individuals. Remember that you need to have many winners. Do not be afraid to offer 4th and 5th place and maybe even last place.
Closest To The Pin – This is an individual contest on par 3s. It is the golfer who hits it closest to the pin. There should be a men’s and woman’s contest. The golf course should provide a tool for golfers to measure and record their distance to the pin.
Long Drive – This too should have a men’s and woman’s winner category. It is also an individual contest that rewards the person who hits the ball the furthest, as long as it is in the fairway.
Straightest Drive – A chalk line can be placed down the center of the fairway. The golfer that hits their drive closest to that line is the winner.
Long Putt – This is simply the longest putt on the green made that day.
Hole In One Contest – This is typically done on a par 3 at around 160 yards. A golfer is offered the chance to win a car for a hole in one. This would be covered by Hole in One Insurance.

All of the games are fun, but really do not make the tournament any money. Here are some ideas on games and contests that are designed to make money.

Putting Contests – There are many variations of this contest. The most popular is when golfers have the opportunity to putt for prizes. They normally would pay $10 for 3 putts at 10 feet. If they make it, they come back at the end of the tournament for a chance to win $10,000 making a 40′ putt.
Gambling Hole – Offering golfers to double their money by hitting their ball on a par 3 inside a 20′ circle.
Selling String – Selling string in 5′ increments giving golfers the opportunity to move the ball the distance of the string without a penalty stroke.
Pay The Pro – A golf pro hits the ball for the golfers for a small fee of $5 to $20.
Mulligans – This is selling a “do over”. A golfer can buy a chance to hit the ball again, typically $5 or 3 for $10.
Buy The Drive – You can sell golfers for $5 a chance to either hit from the forward tees or place the ball in the middle of the fairway.
Shoot out – Charge golfers to participate in closest to the pin contest. All 4 winners of closest to the pin get a chance to win $100,000 in a shoot out on a par 3 after the tournament.
Shortest drive – This is a tough one to monitor. This is more of a gag prize. Ask around and see if anyone can report the shortest drive and give him or her a prize.
5 Iron Hole – Pick out 1 hole on the course and have everyone play with one club the entire hole, even putting, we suggest the 5-iron.
One Club Challenge – This can be one of those unique tournaments. Have everyone play the whole tournament with one club. It is very different, yet some golfers may find it challenging.
Left Handed Hole – This contest all golfers are to play the hole left-handed or the opposite of how they normally play. You may want to have some extra clubs stationed on the hole for left handed play.
On Your Knees – The golfer plays a designated hole on their knees or at least tee off on their knees.
Skills Challenge – This event is held either before or after your golf tournament. It can be held as a stand-alone event. Golfers compete in several categories. Long Drive, Fairway Shot, Chip Shot, Trouble Shot, Sand Shot, Putting, etc. The winner is the one who scores the best on all of the combined areas.
Sandy – If a golfer scores a par after being in the sand it is called a “Sandy”. If a golfer scores a par after hitting a tree it is called a “Woody”.
Low Putts – A prize is given to the individual or group that has the least amount of putts in a round.
Nassau – This divides an 18 hole round of golf into 3 competitions, front 9, back 9, and the total 18. A group prize can be given for each one.

To insure that you maximize your income with your games and contests consider a few of these ideas.
Credit Cards – Accept credit cards at registration.
Good People – Have fun and outgoing people at registration selling your games.
Super Ticket – Combine several items in 1 ticket (2 raffle tickets, 2 mulligans, putting contest and gambling hole) for $25.
Games and contests can enhance your golf tournament by having more winners, adding more excitement and making more money, if they are done correctly. The key here is to make the event fun for golfers but not to overdo it. Too many games and contests will slow down play. Use them to make money and make winners. Good luck and have fun.